Before the checkout process begins, a customer has made the long journey through your conversion funnel. They’ve weighed the risks and benefits and decided they trust you to deliver what you’re promising. You’ve given them the confidence to take that leap.
Now it’s up to you to let the customer know they’ve made the correct choice in placing an order. You’ve accomplished your goal of converting, but the customer is expecting assurances you’re going to deliver what they want.
An order confirmation email is the customer’s safety net for online shopping. It lets them know their order made it into your hands and is being handled capably. Equally as important, it’s an extraordinary opportunity for your company to start building a customer relationship that lasts beyond this transaction.
What is an Order Confirmation Email?
An order confirmation email is sent by the merchant once a customer has completed a transaction in an ecommerce store. Unlike a promotional email that targets a group, this transactional email is sent directly to one customer in response to an action they’ve taken.
While you likely have a page on your website that confirms an order is successfully placed, an email confirmation is an excellent follow-up and expected by most consumers.
The email verifies basic information, such as who made the purchase, what was purchased, and how much it cost. These emails can also confirm a reservation, appointment, subscription, or some other type of service that you’ve agreed to provide.
On a practical level, an order confirmation indicates an online transaction was successful, but it also fulfills an important psychological need. Your customer has taken a leap of faith and completed the purchase. You know you’re going to deliver on your promise, but at this point, your customer can only hope you will. Until they’re signing for that package, they don’t know for sure that the product is going to make it to their doorstep, especially if they’re a first-time customer.
Cast your safety net. Send an order confirmation email assuring them that their recently completed order is being processed, and use this opportunity to enhance the customer’s experience with your business.
Why Order Confirmation Emails Matter
Many inboxes overflow with promotional emails, newsletters, and other email marketing campaigns. Most of these messages are deleted in two seconds.
Order confirmation emails, however, are an essential part of your business practice. They may not directly influence conversion rates, but they can increase (or eliminate) brand loyalty. They’re a message customers want and expect to receive because they contain information of value. Research shows that confirmation emails outperform bulk marketing emails in terms of open rates, click-throughs, viewing time, and revenue.
1. Order confirmations provide assurance to your customers.
Not everyone who lands on your site becomes a customer. A key part of converting is building confidence in your company through trust badges, secure connections, testimonials, and other tools. The customer needs to know your business is legitimate and that you won’t defraud them once you have their credit card information.
It’s absolutely critical this trust continues even after they hit the button to place their order, as the client is now waiting. A confirmation email is an acknowledgment that the order has been successful and their needs are going to be met. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your brand reputation by being transparent and keeping customers informed.
2. It gets customers excited about their purchases.
Once the customer has proof that the order has been placed and you’re committed to fulfilling it, their anxiety eases. Now they can review the confirmation and focus on the finer details.
If your confirmation email follows the best practices outlined later in this post, you’ll have answered basic questions about their order, such as an estimated shipping time frame and a contact number for customer assistance. This email alone successfully generates positive feelings about the transaction so the customer can now look forward to the arrival of their purchase. You’ve laid necessary groundwork for future engagement with your brand.
3. Order confirmation emails help you cultivate a long-term customer relationship.
A successfully placed order means you’ve enticed a customer through the sales funnel. Leverage this to your advantage, as it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep one you already have.
Use an email order confirmation to deliver an exceptional customer experience and pave the way for your new customer to become a regular one. Once you’ve confirmed the details of the order, consider the opportunity to invite customers to engage with your company in other ways, whether it’s making another purchase, following your business on social media, or joining a loyalty program.
What to Include in an Order Confirmation Email
Customers look for key pieces of information in an order confirmation so they can review their purchase and ensure everything is correct before it ships. Including all the right information can even decrease calls to customer support. You can customize the email to complement your brand, but make sure the main components of the confirmation are clearly visible with a quick skim. This is a place where personalization will become even more important.
1. Provide the order number.
A reference number is important if the customer has questions or issues about the transaction. When they contact you through a 1-800-line, online chat, or email, your customer service representatives likely require an ID number to locate the details of the purchase. Make this information easily accessible, preferably at the top of the email.
2. Summarize the customer contact details.
Include the name of the person who made the purchase and the billing address connected to the form of payment. This is the address they’ve entered in your system to authorize a credit card.
3. Confirm the shipping address.
Verify the customer’s shipping information, even if it’s the same as the billing address, and their phone number, if required. Customers may request shipping to a different location, so provide an opportunity for them to check these details and ensure the package is delivered to the correct address.
4. Include an order summary.
Itemize the products that are shipping, including:
- Name of the product.
- Unit price.
- Tracking link (if available).
Some companies include an image of the item from the online store so customers can visually confirm from the email list that they’ve ordered the correct item.
5. Break down the cost.
Make sure your customer understands what they’ve been charged for, including:
- Cost of the product.
- Shipping fees.
- Savings from discounts or promotional codes.
6. Confirm the payment method and amount.
Indicate the method of payment so it’s clear to the customer where the charges have been applied and the total amount.
7. Outline the shipping method and estimated delivery date
The more information the customer has about shipping, the more confidence they have in your business. If possible, confirm:
- How the product is being delivered (carrier).
- Method of shipping (standard delivery, expedited, or overnight).
- The date the order is expected to leave your warehouse.
- The date the carrier is expected to deliver the item.
A follow-up shipment confirmation email is usually sent once the item leaves your warehouse and can be automated as part of the workflow.
8. Let the customer know how to reach you.
Always provide information on how the customer can contact you in the event there’s an issue or if they want to change or cancel their order. It’s smart to make this information readily available because if the customer is concerned about something, their frustration can increase as they spend time looking for your customer service contacts.
Consumers are likely to share a positive experience with an average of nine people, but stories about negative experiences typically reach 16 people, according to research by Deloitte.
Best Practices for Order Confirmation Emails
Once you’ve identified the right information to incorporate into the email, follow some standard practices when presenting and sending the confirmation to the customer.
1. Send the email right after the customer makes a purchase.
A quick response post-purchase establishes the credibility of your company. With an automated workflow, there’s no reason a confirmation email can’t arrive in a customer’s inbox soon after they’ve placed the order.
People are most excited about their purchase immediately after the sale, making it an opportune time to cultivate positive feelings about your business and engage your customer.
You may also want to send a separate shipping confirmation email once the customer’s item has shipped.
2. Stay on brand.
You could send a functional, all-text email and get the job done, but consider creating an email design that makes a lasting impression. An email is a personal communication to your customer and should be an extension of your website and the company’s branding.
Make the email visually attractive and use colors from your brand palette. Put your brand voice to work, whether it’s professional, sophisticated, or quirky. Better yet, place the task of designing the email in the hands of your marketing people to coordinate with the rest of your branding. You can create email templates to make sure future projects stay on track.
3. Use a subject line that informs and engages customers.
Remember, this much-anticipated email contains information that’s valuable to the consumer. They may likely refer to it more than once, so use a clear subject header to make it easy to locate in a cluttered inbox.
The subject header can be simple and straightforward. These classics work well:
- Order confirmation.
- Your [insert name of business] order confirmation.
- Order number [insert order number].
- Your order has been received.
- We’ve received your order.
A friendly subject line can show the customer they matter to you. It’s even better if it’s personalized.
- Thanks for your order.
- Thank you for your recent order, [insert customer first name].
Finally, you can incorporate some enthusiasm into the subject header to help generate excitement before the email is even opened.
- We can’t wait to get started on your order!
4. Provide an opportunity to engage with your company
The purpose of the order confirmation email is to provide basic information about the transaction. These are the details that matter most to the customer at this moment, but there’s an opportunity to use the email to begin building brand loyalty.
- Suggest other products the customer might be interested in.
- Offer a discount or incentive to shop again.
- Invite the customer to connect on social media.
- Ask the customer to subscribe to a mailing list.
- Promote your brand’s loyalty program.
Be sure that the key components of the order confirmation are the prominent part of the message. Any invitation to further connect should be discreet or take up a small part of the real estate of the email. You don’t want it to be the primary CTA.
5. Ensure the order confirmation email is mobile-friendly.
It’s critical that your emails look as sharp on a mobile device as they do on a desktop. Your customer might decide to check on the status of their order while waiting for a coffee or standing in line at the supermarket; in fact, 60% of people check their email while they’re on the go.
Crowded, hard-to-read emails, text that runs off the screen, and links that are difficult to click inevitably frustrate the customer. Ensure a seamless experience by making sure your email renders well no matter where your customer is.
Some Great Examples of Order Confirmation Emails
Now that we’ve reviewed the information that should be included in an order confirmation email, let’s look at effective ways to present it. Ultimately you have two goals:
- Make the order confirmation email valuable and useful for your customer.
- Satisfy your own customer engagement objectives while complementing your brand.
Here are some order confirmation email examples that we love.
1. Make an impact.
An order confirmation email is your first contact with a customer after a purchase. Because the information it contains is important to the consumer, most people take the time to read it no matter how the email is laid out. However, this is your chance to make an excellent first impression. Aim for an appealing design, add value for the customer, and make the message stand out with succinct, clever copywriting.
This example by Harry’s, a company that sells men’s personal products, lays out details in a simple and clear way with a dash of humor for good measure. The navigation bar is a subtle way to invite further interaction with the brand.
2. Thank your customer personally.
Customers want to know that they’re important to you. Use the order confirmation email to express your appreciation for their business right from the start, and personalize the message to make a connection. If possible, remind the customer they’ve made the right choice in doing business with you.
This order confirmation email by ProFlowers makes the customer feel good about their transaction by affirming that the gift “will express your sentiments perfectly.”
3. Fill the customer in on what’s happening next.
The order has been placed. Now what? An order confirmation email updates the customer on what’s going on behind the scenes. Provide clear customer service information in case there are questions.
Larq’s email order confirmation is eye-catching, clean, and informative.
4. Promote your brand subtly.
An order confirmation email is an opportunity to promote your loyalty program, social media, and product line. Remember, these elements aren’t of primary importance to the customer right now, so highlight the details of the current transaction first, and incorporate promotions with discretion. You can also use this as an opportunity to upsell by listing related products in the email.
Huckberry does an excellent job of seamlessly inviting the customer to connect in the opening paragraph, and adds product recommendations after the main order information has been supplied.
5. Manage expectations.
In an ideal world, orders ship quickly and on time. When something arises, whether or not it’s within your control, be transparent with the customer and manage expectations. Explain the situation clearly and provide a way for customers to track the status of their order and stay informed.
This order confirmation from Cherry Republic manages expectations about delays due to health and safety measures related to COVID-19.
6. Add some personality.
Sharing order details doesn’t have to be boring. Be creative and put your brand voice to work. Surprise the customer. Do the unexpected.
This email from Di Bruno Bros uses humorous copy by telling the customer to prep their tables and tastebuds.
Summing It All Up
A well-crafted order confirmation email assures your customer their purchase was successfully made and lays the foundation for your business to extend the relationship beyond the current transaction. More than simply itemizing details about a purchase, an email confirmation can effectively generate positive feelings about your company and drive future revenue.
You’ve worked hard to build trust and entice the customer to make a purchase. The next step is to carry through and ensure your customer is glad they took that leap.